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News Archives - January 2006

Favorite Treasures?

Yarr. Everyone likes treasures! Anyways, back on topic, TheZappa has started a rather interesting thread about each player's favourite booty. What made the thread worth reading is that many forummers contributed tips on how to get the worthwhile treasures, as well as advice on getting the helpful boosts such as the pirate-guarded 325 gold. Treasures are good boosts to your economy to gain that little edge over your opponent. Go submit your input here now. Yarr.

A Booming... Germans?!

Olannon has posted a thread in our Strategy Central forum asking about the very-likely possibilities of booming or turtling with the Germans.

"It's essential, you get to play in every age of the game!

you will have to face rushes, FF's, and then hopefully fight it out in lateindustrial/imperial age. Actually, it was a friend of mine who is really crazy about booming civ's now-a-days, that told me the germans might have a huge boom potential. At first, I didn't believe him, because a brit manor boomer will have a better econ than you. But, as I also found out, what if you can get past this? What if you can get past the early industrial when the brit's are strongest." ...

"Olannon, what is your point with all of this, will you ever get there?

Bear with me, I will, eventually. Well, germans have defensive mercs, and mercs are cost-efficient. The german eco is usually quite bad when you reach early industrial, compared to brits/dutch/ports. Well, let's say you slow your FF a bit, take the time to ship 2 towers etc, making a few more vills. Instead of stressing the offence, you will be awaiting an attack, haveing a shipment of counter mercs ready (eg, if he constantly raids you with hussars or DA OP KAV you send BR) [translation for DA OP KAV: french cuirassier]. Since german mercs are cost-efficient and defensive, you *SHOULD* be able to hold of until your econ can kick off. When you reach age 3, you should also be putting up a 2nd, and maybe even a third town center quite fast. Culverins are also vital. It might be worth it to even have sent the teutonic town center card, making it *EXTREMELY* hard to kill your main base easily." ...

He's opening the field for strategists to see if this can be done. Interested in coming up with a German boom strategy? Can it happen? Check out his thread and discuss!

Poll Round-Up!

Last week we asked "What's your favorite random map?" The Great Plains, an open map with excellent opportunities to hunt, expand, and rush your opponent, was the map a large majority of voters selected. Next up came the oceanside New England, trailing in second place with 268 votes. The complete results:

Amazonia (139)
Bayou (68)
Caribbean (206)
Carolina (249)
Great Lakes (106)
Great Plains (340)
New England (268)
Pampas (59)
Patagonia (70)
Rockies (134)
Saguenay (154)
Sonora (42)
Texas (148)
Yucatan (102)
Yukon (137)

This week we're wondering "What type of download are you most interested in?" Vote in our poll!

Battlefield Briefing

What noteworthy events occured on the AoE3 battlefield recently? This week started off with a thread asking an simple question: How did you discover the Age series? Next came a cool thread that gives the interpretations of what the units say in their respective languages, still growing of course. If you're curious to see what your Explorer is really saying as he awakens from his minor leg injury, now's your chance to find out.

There was no shortage of strategy articles; posted this week was Ceres's Guide to the British, the Dutch Wildcard Strategy, and the Dutch Great Wall (a good week for the Dutch).

Bruce Shelley posted up a new designer's blog, and finally, the Fort Wars team has uploaded Fort Wars 1.0.

That's it for this week! See you on the battlefield!

New Blog Article Up

Every once in a while, Bruce Shelley updates his blog. Recently he did so and it is quite lengthy interesting. Check it out for his opinions on current issues around Age of Empires 3 and the general gaming community. This new article involves some interesting write-ups such as:

Age III Reviewer Replies to My Comments on Review Disparity: A few entries ago I mentioned being struck by the disparity in the Age III review scores published by the two leading PC game magazines in the US. I drew particular attention to the score in Computer Gaming World: three stars out of five, which I translated as 60%. Tom Chick wrote that review and was disappointed to read my comments. You can read what he had to say in response here.

Anyways, the point is, go check it out now here.

Fort Wars 1.0 Released!

The Fort Wars team (Matei, pftq, TBMike and myself) are happy to announce that Fort Wars 1.0, the update to the most played Age3 custom map to date, has been released. This new version contains a long list of changes and additions, and a possible fix to the OOS errors, special powers, bigger civilization based bonuses, and much more.

To find out more, visit my forum thread. You can download Fort Wars 1.0 here.

The Great Wall

XPhoEniX posted a lengthy and interesting strategy for the Dutch called "The Great Wall" in our Strategy Central forum, emphasising a complete Dutch turtle so they can put their excellent economy into action. What does the article include? Here's the Table of Contents...

Table of contents
I. Introduction
II. The tactic
III. Build Order
IV. Cards
V. Strategy
VI. Replays (comming soon)
VII. Final words

As the ToC shows, it's definitely lengthy and detailed, making it a must-read. Check it out!

Interpreting the Units

Ever wonder what "Pika Pika" means? Or alternatively, ever wonder what the units in Age of Empires III say when you click on the little guys? In our General Discussions forum, SapphirianDragon has made a thread asking this very question, compiling a list of translations for their unique dialects. Quote...


Sim (yes)
Eu vou (i'll go)
Correcto (correct)
Atacar! (attack!)
Qual é sua ordem? (What's your order?)
Preparado! (Ready)

Lenhador (lumberjack, if put on wood)
Assalariado (wage-earner", if put on plantations and mines)
Caçador (hunter)

Killed: Estou ferido, não me posso mexer! (I'm hurt, I can't move!)
Rescued: Já me sinto melhor! (I'm feeling better already!)

Have your own additions or corrections? Add them to the thread!

Dutch Wildcard Strategy

Diceclock has written an interesting guide for the Dutch. It is indeed not a single strategy, but opting for flexibility and adaptation. It has build orders for Fast Fortress countering, heavy booming, and also for an early attack. Here's a snipit from the thread.

To provide a flexible Dutch opening that allows the player to adapt and execute any of the popular Dutch opening stratagies. To provide the bennefits of the best military openings without sacrificing economy. To allow the Dutch to remain in Colonial without having to feel rushed into a premature Fortress.

Check it out in this thread!

Ceres629's Guide to the British

Ceres629, know around the forums for his AoE3 knowledge, has posted links to his guide to the British civilization in Age of Empires III in our Strategy Central forum. The British are known for their economic superiority and hard booms, which makes them an interesting civilization to play with. Quote...

"Well I've finally finished my British guide and it is now online. It took me about 8 hours or so to do up so I hope it is useful. I've basically got 2 of my main strategy as British so far online, both relying on Manor Booming. these are the:

Fortress Age Merc Spam, and my current favourite, the Fast Industrial.

There are no step-by-step build orders, just some sound advice and tips and that I have learnt on my own after playing almost 200 games as british.

Of course there are replays to go with the guide and I advise you to focus more on my response to the enemy playing than focus on my 'build order' (since I don't have a build order)

British are a very good civ in the right hands, but they need a LOT of time. If you are willing to invest the time and effort, I promise you will be rewarded. Nothing is more satisfying than repelling a rush or crushing an FF with 'noob turtling'" ...

How Did YOU Find the Age Series?

king_magician posted a discussion thread in our General Discussions forum asking how you learned about the almighty Age of Empires series. Did you learn about it from a friend or acquaintance? Found the game while browsing the store? Some crazy guy throw the game at you in a wild frenzy to stop the voices? A mix of each? Tell us in our forums!

Poll Round-Up!

Last week we asked everybody what Native tribe they prefer in Age of Empires III. The Native tribes are sub-civilizations that the European nations can team up with, offering cheap bonuses and extra soldiers to assist them in their conquest. The favored tribe appears to be the Great Plains-based Lakota, who are notorious for their cavalry and hunting bonuses, and the Cherokee coming to a close second place. The complete results:

Aztecs (351)
Carib (109)
Cherokee (369)
Comanche (207)
Cree (243)
Incas (108)
Iroquois (159)
Lakota (396)
Maya (105)
Nootka (79)
Seminole (107)
Tupi (101)

The question this week has to do with the geography of the New World: "What's your favorite random map?" Vote in our poll!

Battlefield Briefing

It was another active week here at Age of Empires III Heaven, with the week starting off with the announcement of the first 2v2 AoE3H Ladder Tournament at Patagonia, which is going to be held tomorrow for ladder players. Not a part of the ladder? Sign up and start playing!

AoE3 got significant praise this week, being the 8th best selling game of 2005, and for beating out all other PC games in sales for the month of December.

The highlight of the week was the release of patch 1.04, which fixed a lot of stability errors with ESO2 to improve gaming, but it came with repercussions; some mods, notably Ekanta's UI, were incompatible with the patch and cause OOS errors.

Finally, a Cinematic contest hosted by Liquid Fire Studios has started today, with sign-ups ending February 3rd. If you plan on designing for it, enter today!

That's all the news for this week. See you on the battlefield!

Myll Clan Stat Signatures

The Myll clan have created their own stat signatures program, even including a generator on their forums. Quote...

"The Myll Clan has launched a signature ratings solution for AoE3, with many innovative ideas.

Some features include:
- Supports multiple languages.
- Supports both Supremacy and Deathmatch.
- Random images for various time periods if the user can't decide on a specific image.
- Good image quality.

Ratings are calculated through a player's wins and losses to obtain an ELO rating (1600 being the default rating). Thanks to plexiq and fast_tam for providing the rating scheme.

The Myll Clan is working on a ladder solution to properly determine a player's rating, incorporating the skills and ratings of opponents, as well as team games. The Launch Date will be announced when the project is close to finished."

Forum Party -- January 21

This is a reminder that we're holding another forum party today at 12 noon, EST/5PM GMT and 8PM EST/1AM GMT at the HeavenGames lobby on ESO (which will be created 15 minutes prior to the party times). As with all forum parties, it's a great chance to improve your game, crush Elpea, and learn from fellow players!

Liquid Cinema Contest

Liquid Fire Studios has announced that it will host a cinematic contest. It will be based on how well the map design is, the storyline, as well as being original and simply put, awesome. The prizes are very good - the winner gets 1 of 3 excellent games, a T-shirt, and their movie will be publicized in their website. Since this is a larger scaled contest, it needs participants. So quickly sign up and show what you can do!

Email us at or Rider an email at by Febuary 3rd, 2006. The email must include:

- Your first and last name (private information will not be given out).
- Your HG or LFS forum nickname (if you don't have one, make one).

You cannot enter the contest if you don't do this!

Any designers can participate, but you should hurry as the contest ends in March 25th. This is a good chance for people to take advantage of the graphics of Age of Empires III, and to utilize the trigger effects.
Anyhow, check out the thread here. So, sign up before the sign-up ends in February 3rd.

Russian Rush Build-Order

Realn has posted a build-order for an effective Russian rush that has worked for him while playing on ESO. The Russians are one of the best civilizations to rush with, and Realn gives you a step-by-step strat that can be performed on almost any HC level. New to the game? Give it a shot -- the best thing about strategies is that they can be modified. Quote...

... "4:- Then, all vills to hunts.
5:- Except 1 vill to wood cart, build house, then, shift to hunting.
6:- Explorer explores.

Leave gold/extra wood alone. Keep hunting gathering effective. If possible to build market AND upgrade with hunting dogs (TIP: If map is Carolinas OR if Explorer found 50w + 50g treasures with initial 200w/0g, OR if Explorer found 150w with initial 100w/100g), build the market and precede to upgrade. Otherwise it is a waste to build market." ...

It sounds like he's open to commentary, so be sure to check it out!

(The Explorer, being used to... explore?! =S I need to explore the possibilities of this new development.)

AoE3 Conquers PC Charts

That's right! According to GameSpot's ChartSpot, the almighty AoE3 came out on top of the PC charts in the month of December, beating out titles like Call of Duty 2, Civilization IV, and a still-thriving World of WarCraft. This proves that, by all means, an RTS is the perfect gift for the Holiday season. Top ten:

1. Age of Empires III
2. Call of Duty 2
3. Civilization IV
4. World of Warcraft
5. The Sims 2
6. The Sims 2 Nightlife
7. The Movies
8. Battlefield 2
9. Roller Coaster Tycoon 3
10. The Sims 2: Holiday Ed.

Thanks to KS for the news!

Problems with Patch 1.04?

If your Age3 won't start after installing patch 1.04, the problem might be Ekanta's UI. Ekanta's UI, which we talked about here at Age3H a few days ago, has a feature that has been disabled in the new patch and therefore cause the game not to start. In order to play, you must uninstall it. If you have no idea what Ekanta's UI is, then you don't need to worry ;).

Patch 1.04 Out!

Ensemble has released Patch 1.04 today, changes include:

-Update to the patching process which should address difficulties experienced during the autopatch process.
-Resume button added. A dialog is now displayed when a user pauses the game.


-Changes to Games List functionality. The list is pulled down once on initial login and can be updated by pressing the Refresh button.
-Automatic updates will no longer occur.+
-Quickmatch now uses only standard maps.
-Home City level now displayed on the Game Start screen.
-Clan tags added to the Advanced Game Setup.
-Fixed an issue with clan chat not being displayed.
-Fixed a game pause issue when a resigned player remained in game.
-Removed the exploited ability to split the military and economy scores.
-Timeout added to Vote Dialog box.

You can download the patch by logging in ESO2.

AoE3 - 8th Best Selling PC Game of 2005

KS informed us in this thread that Ensemble Studio's Age of Empires 3 is the 8th best selling PC game of 2005. On the top 10 list, Age of Empires 3 is the only PC RTS game. In fact, if you do not count simulation games such as The Sims 2 and Roller Coaster Tycoon, Age of Empires 3 is the only high selling strategy game.

Rank Title Publisher Release Date Average Price
1 World of Warcraft VU Games Nov-04 $47
2 The Sims 2: University Electronic Arts Feb-05 $33
3 The Sims 2 Electronic Arts Sep-04 $45
4 Guild Wars NCsoft Apr-05 $48
5 Roller Coaster Tycoon 3 Atari Oct-04 $30
6 Battlefield 2 Electronic Arts Jun-05 $48
7 The Sims 2 Nightlife Electronic Arts Sep-05 $32
8 Age Of Empires III Microsoft Oct-05 $47
9 The Sims Deluxe Electronic Arts Sep-02 $43
10 Call Of Duty 2 Activision Oct-05 $46

Stability Patch Soon

Some good news to online players: ES has sped up their development of the 1.04 patch to ensure better stability and adding a new server for the increase of players on ESO. The patch should be available by next week, according to ES. This patch will be primarily focused on ESO, and thus would not change the balance just yet. And finally, for those that are dissapointed in the lack of a rating system, ES has started developing it.

We have accelerated our patching schedule in order to address ESO server stability, which has been our highest priority since our online population greatly increased after Christmas. We have made several server side fixes that improved ESO performance, and added a new server to help with the increase in traffic.

All in all, read the announcement here.

Dutch Strategy: Skirm Skewer

jaafit has written a guide on a Dutch strategy intended to surprise the opponent by doing exactly opposite of what opponents would expect. It's a good alternative to the typical Fast Fortress employed by many players. By a combination of surprise and villager harrasements, this strategy can help make the Dutch more effective in the early game.

You prevent his vils from doing anything. You harrass him relentlessly. You kill as many vils as you can. Keep him off his gold mine. He will try to escape out his back door so you use your envoy to see when that happens. Keep your hussars on the move looking for his desperate attempt to sneak out.

Check it out in this thread.

Announcing the AoE3Heaven Ladder's First 2vs2 Tournament

It's going to be a one day, single elimination event at Patagonia. To be held on Sunday, 22 January. Participants must be on the AoE3Heaven Ladder with a minimum of 3 ladder games played. Teams can have a total of no more than 245 ladder points. For all of the rules, signups and even to find a partner go to the Tournament Thread.

If you're not already on the Ladder you can signup right now and start playing games immediately.

Fame, glory and a whole lot of ladder wins await the champions.

Poll Round-Up!

The polls are closed on last weeks question: "What kind of expansion would you like to see?" The majority of votes went to an Asian & African Colonization expansion pack, detailing the European exploits in those countries and even adding African/Asian civilizations to the collection of Natives, while an American Revolution & Civil War came in a distant second (almost losing out to European Wars). Here are the complete results:

European Wars (554)
Asian & African Colonization (815)
American Revolution & Civil War (561)
Either one/Undecided (187)

This week we're asking about the sub-civs that make Age of Empires III even more fun to play: What's your favorite Native tribe in AoE3? Answer in our poll!

Battlefield Briefing

This week saw tons of activity in the AoE3 community, starting off with pro Flammifer posting up three articles: a comparison of light infantry, an article about AoE3's scoring system, and last but not least, an article on XP and trading posts.

This week also included the opening of the Ask Sandy thread over at the Age Community, where veteran Ensemble developer and overall "1337 guy" Sandy Petersen answers questions regarding AoE3. Next came lead designer DeathShrimp, giving us his balance opinions on the under-powered Portuguese as well as future patch information in our forums, and Bruce Shelley updating his Designer's Blog.

Finally, Elpea featured a couple mods today and gave a design community update to show the latest in the Scenario Design world.

That's all for this week, see you on the battlefield!

Ekanta's UI mod

A lot of people have been asking what exactly is this UI mod everyone has been talking about.Ekanta's UI mod is a, well, Interface Mod. It will modify the Age of Empires III interface to something more sleak and save more space for units and more important info. You can find the mod at Ekanta's homepage, or download it from here (mirror, since his site is in geocities and might run out of bandwidth). Here's a screenshot:

Ui Mod

Forum Party - January 15th

This week's Forum Party is happening on a Sunday because I, admit, forgot to newspost it yesterday ^_^. Anyway, this week we have two choices of games. Fort Wars, the popular blood style RMS, or Deathmatch. For more information (such as times and etc), check my forum thread :).

Design Community Update

Here's what is new in the Scenario Design and Modding Communities:

Jack Absolute
Guardian_112, an experienced scenario designer from Age of Mythology with huge projects such as Heroes Chronicles has come over to the Dark... Age of Empires III side. His first project is called Jack Absolute and it tells the tale of a young British spy, Jack Absolute. Gaurdian isn't as open with the storyline (so it won't be spoiled) but he has provided plenty of screenshots to keep us entertained while we wait for its release. Here are some:

Arrival At East London
Outlaw Town
Magellan's Pass
Bridge (my personal favorite).

Not only the scenario will look amazing, it will also sound amazing. Gaurdian has partnered up with voice actors to do the voice work for his scenario. Not only that, he has compiled a great set of music for the scenario that will amaze you. I have listened to both the voice acting and the soundtrack myself and I can personally tell you it is awesome.

Progress on the development is going at a good steady rate. If you wish to view more screenshots, comment or flame Gaurdian- visit his forum thread.

Woad Creations Closed Its Doors!
Woad Creations is a pretty old Design Team for most strategy games. Projects by this team include the famous Norse Wars map for Age of Mythology. It is must unfortunate to see Woad Creations go, specially after all the contributions this team has made in the past. Please give a warm goodbye at the announcement thread.

Possible Solution to Fort Wars OOS Errors:
Ensemble Studios' tech team tells me that a (possible) solution to OOS errors on ESO2 may be simply restarting your game after playing Fort Wars. It seems that the error is caused by Age of Empires III not clearing unit data after playing the map, which then gets carried over to a normal RMS. The error doesn't happen to everyone though, so you're fine if it doesn't affect you. Version 1.0 of Fort Wars is being heavily worked on meanwhile.

That is all for this time, see ya later!

Main Menu Backgrounds Mod

Community Modder Argalius has come through with one of his latest projects, a *very* awesome main menu background mod for AoE3. The mod modifies your main menu so that instead of displaying your Home City, it displays a static background such as this one. Features include:
• High quality backgrounds
• Easy background changeability
• Choice of wooden or steel buttons
• Updates/Expansions available now and then
• No modding knowledge required, just copy, pasting and changing folders' names
• Easy to uninstall
• Doesn't effect the game in any unwanted way

So if you're bored of your main menu, give this mod a try! (no, it will NOT affect ESO2 or cause any OOS errors).

Ask Sandy & Bruce's Blog

Bruce Shelley has recently updated his blog. While he mentioned some topics outside of Age of Empires III, he also gave some comments to his team's creation.

The Dutch Are Coming: I noted a while ago that the Dutch seemed out of favor, which surprised me since they were popular with our balance team during development. We are seeing more interest in the Dutch now as forums discuss the use of Dutch Banks and the Dutch are being used in more games. I think they are one of the better civilizations but also one of the most challenging since their play is really different. For all of our games it has been very interesting to see how the popularity of the various civilizations rise and fall. It looks like the Dutch are swinging back towards being in favor. We’ll see if that lasts or if they fall back.

Check out Bruce's blog here. Also, ES_Sandyman has revived the Ask Sandy thread over in ES community forums. Players can ask questions and expect answers.

Fort Wars and OOS Issues

Elpea issued a statement regarding the random map script he helped create, "Fort Wars", and the recent troubles it has been giving players because of Out-of-Sync errors. It's still unsure that Fort Wars is causing the OOS errors, but many speculate that it's the problem. Quote...

"Fort Blood is a Random Map Script that came with the idea that even though our editor was mostly "bad", even though we couldn't play scenarios online, we still had one hope left - do a multiplayer RMS. But it seems however, that even that is impossible.

In the map we use an effect called "Modify Protounit". This effect is made by ES so that we can modify certain aspects of units, like HP, speed, etc. The effect is really a base of our map, because we entrusted that if it worked and it wasn't blocked by ES to work online (like all the triggers in the editor that don't work online) that it would not cause *any* problems with anyone.

However, this wasn't the case as a lot of you know. There's a lot of people blaming us for causing them OOS errors. Experts are emailing me saying I should fix my map because it's screwing their ESO experience. People, even from ES, are blaming the authors of the RMS for causing people ESO errors and recommending them to not even play the map at all." ...

There's no solid proof that the RMS is causing the OOS issues, but uninstalling is as simple as deleting the map. Check out the rest of the thread for more....

Patch Update (2)

Correcting my previous news post, DeathShrimp gave a quick statement on our forums in response to people being confused about the patch release date. No, it's not going to take a few months, but much, much sooner; I apologize for any depression caused by my previous post. ;-) Check it out...

"Sorry, I didn't mean to be obtuse. We are almost done with the balance patch. I didn't want to say, for example, "in two weeks," because inevitably it will slip until the following week and then everyone will want my head. But it should be soon."

So expect the new balance patch very soon! Hopefully me being incorrect makes you appreciate how quickly the patch is coming along. >_>

Patch Update

Yesterday, DeathShrimp gave us some information regarding the release date for the first balance patch. The date? Don't expect it for a few months. They're working hard to make sure the first balance update fixes any imbalances found. Quote...

We're not considering any Card changes so severe that it would be worth refunding the point you spent on them.

We are pretty happy with the balance changes we have in hand. I don't want to spill them out here though because we may want to make a more official announcement. We're still looking at some additional testing and hoping to get in a few ESO changes, but don't think it's going to be April or June before you see the patch.

Portuguese - What Should They Change?

The Portuguese civilization is considered under-powered compared to other civs, but what makes them under-powered? Better yet, what do the creators think makes them weak? ES_DeathShrimp, replying to a thread asking how they would balance the Portuguese, gave us some insight into how they view the Portuguese...

"I personally think the Portuguese military is fine. They have about the best Musketeers in the game, which is a very mainstream unit. An army of Musketeers and Cacadores is pretty hard to counter and several of the Portuguese cards benefit both units. The British army of Musketeers and Hussars may feel more powerful, but it requires building Barracks and Stables, getting separate upgrades, and keeping them in different control groups (lest you lose the cavalry speed). I'd take the infantry army any day.

I think you are seriously underestimating Bandeirantes. It takes a player who can micromanage a lot, but those suckers can kill a lot of stuff on their own, especially with Crackshot. How are you supposed to counter that? If you kill them, the Portuguese player just ressurects *all three* again for the low price of 100 Coin.

I do think the Portuguese get off to a slow start and can't capitalize fully on their extra TCs quickly enough. For a long time in the game, the Ports were way too powerful, so we probably erred on the side of making them too weak. I think some kind of econ boost would help them a lot."

Check out the full thread in our General Discussions forum!

French Cavalry isn't Over Powered?!

According to ES_Sandyman that is. Apparently, 15 Cuiassiers ripping through 40 Halberdiers is "cost-effective". Here's ES_Sandyman's full comment at AgeCommunity, on ES' "Ask Sandyman" feature:
5) Are you aware that French cav are OP?
A – I deny that French cav are OP. French hussars and dragoons are the same or even weaker than those of other civs. And our balance tests demonstrate that cuirassiers are in fact slightly weaker, per cost, than hussars.

To read Sandyman's full post, go to his thread at AgeCommunity.

XP and Trading Posts

Flammifer, continuing his articles explaining the finer points of Age of Empires III and research he's done, has written another article. However, this time the subject is Experience, the unlisted fourth resource of the game. If you're looking into how and where you can get more, his article is a great read. Quote...

Off into single player skirmish I go, garrisoning my villagers before they can gather crates and pull my explorer back to my town center as to not explore the map and check how much xp is needed for the first shipment. Its 300, but wait, what's this? The number needed is going down, the green bar is moving, and I'm not doing anything! Turns out xp is passively generated at a rate of 2xp per second. After a few more tests I think I've figured everything out. It's remarkably simple." ...

Check out his thread for more information!

Mysteries of the Score

On a role lately, AoE3 pro Flammifer has posted up another article in our Strategy Discussions forum, based on player's scores in AoE3. Having trouble figuring out what exactly's behind that score of 9000? Could it be why they're beating you? Check it out...

... "How Score is Determined

Essentially the score is the value of what the player currently has. That means resources in the stockpiles as well as the buildings, units and technologies. Every 100 resources make for one point. Units or buildings that are killed or destroyed no longer count towards a player’s score.

You may have noticed in the postgame you can chose to view not just the total score but the military and economic scores separately.

These are calculated exactly the same way the total score is, just split into two categories. Players get one point for every 100 resources in the stockpile or invested in econ (villagers, buildings and techs). Military works the same way. The cost of all military units, buildings and technologies makes up the military score. Not sure what’s what? The minimap filters use the same categories as the score." ...

Check out the complete article!

Light Infantry Comparison

Flammifer wrote an article comparing the various light infantry units in AoE3. He compared units by equal numbers and equal resource costs. The result is rather interesting, as it turned out it was quantity over quality in many cases.

In equivalent pop, the higher cost units win except for lbows against skirms and cassadores.

In equivalent cost the higher unit count wins. xbows v strelets is a possible exception. Note that the cost of houses was not considered in this test.

Check out in this thread.

Poll Round-Up!

All of the votes are in; when asked about what the most important quality of a Real-Time-Strategy is, most people said replayability, a game that can be played over and over while still being fun, while others say a balance between all playable factions is more important in an RTS. The complete results...

Balance (522)
Replayability (844)
Easy to Learn/Play (75)
Innovative (184)
Undecided (55)

This week's question pokes into the future of AoE3: "What kind of expansion would you like to see?" Vote now in our poll!

Design Spotlight: Fort Wars RMS

Been tired or bored of the typical Age3 gameplay later? Been wishing for some plain blowing up enemy units and killing? I got a solution:

Fort Wars RMS
a RMS by pftq, Elpea, Matei and TBMike.

Fort Wars is a blood map that plays very like AoM's Norse Wars. If you love blood maps, then you should not live without trying this out! The entire gameplay involves massing huge armies and killing off your enemies with an array of powerful upgradable troops.

Fort Wars is quickly growing as a popular RMS at ESO2. People love it, so you probably will too. More info and screenshots here.

Battlefield Briefing

Plenty of events in the strategy department happened this week, starting off with F1RE_FLY posting up calculations on how many hits it takes for the three basic Age3 units (Musketeer, Skirmisher, Hussar (or "MSH" for those who enjoy difficult acronyms)) to strike down any other unit. Following it came TheGoodEvil with his The Russian Winter article series, providing several strategies straight from his blog, and adding to the guides came Echoic's guide on a Tower of Power strategy for the Portuguese. Finally, first Ladder champion was announced, the crown going to Qazitory! Congratulations!

In addition to the influx of strat news, the developers give us some hints on a release date for 1.04 and their own thoughts regarding patch fixes; they even gave some commentary on future Scenario Editor fixes. Last but not least, TGE started a still-active discussion thread regarding the possibility of trading Home Cities online.

That's all the news for this week! See you on the battlefield!

Age of Kings: DS Screenshots

If you're a big huge DS fan like myself, you're probably very excited about the Age of Empires: Age of Kings title for the DS. Well, French site released a fresh batch of new screenies for the title. If you have a DS and are interested, go check it out :).

Trading Home Cities?

TheGoodEvil posted a discussion thread in our General Discussions forum asking what everybody's opinion is on the possibility of trading Home Cities online. Quote...

"I want your opinions on this, the ability to trade HCs. Do you think it would be cool or useless? Think of it like this, you want to play a tourney and know you will be against a level 70 german but you only have a level 10 spain, if you had a good chance of winning the tourney you could buy a lvl 70 Spanish HC and come out with more cash than you spent on the HC plus you have a cool new high level HC." ...

Many think the idea's interesting. Your thoughts? Check out the thread!

Forum Party - January 7th

Tomorrow is Saturday (woohoo!) and Saturday is Forum Part-ay day! If you never came to a forum party, you really should. It's your chance to pwn every forummer and you even get to mock them on the forums. It's also a great chance to learn from great players like TGE and Mokon. For more information such as times and etc, visit my forum thread.

Tower of Power

Echoic has written an interesting strategy for the portugese that involves booming and turtling at the same time. He finds that this tactic is most useful against rushers. This takes advantage of mutual building assistance from town centers and a fort. Here is a part of the guide:

The 'Tower of Power' is a Portuguese strategy designed to repel attacks while booming interrupted out of two TCs at home and advancing to age III. It is a turtle and a boom combined. Age II consists of turtling to age III with defense from minutemen and TC fire. Age III consists of finishing the tower (TC-TC-Fort) and creating military units and sending military shipments to counter with superior units and a superior economy. Writing a guide for a turtling strategy is difficult, so bear with me This strategy is a guideline, but as turtling is you will need to adapt.

Check out it here.

Future Patch Fixes

Thunder was kind enough to give us Ensemble's opinions regarding new patch fixes and ESO2, including a hint on when it's going to be released...

We haven't stated a specific ETA for 1.04, other than sometime in the first few months of the new year.

I certainly understand the frustration that players have been experiencing with all of the Otto, French, Otto, Otto, games being played and the instability of ESO. We're our own biggest critics, and no one here finds the current performance of ESO acceptable. It's our number one priority at the moment.

ES_DeathShrimp also stopped by and gave us some information about fixes in the scenario editor with future patches:

We know there are some bugs in the editor and we do plan on fixing them, but it will probably be after patch 1.04. While we recognize that user-created content, including mods, is increasingly becoming more and more important to our types of games, it is easy during development to always push editor bugs down below those that affect say ESO or setup issues. It makes more sense, in our minds, to deal with the editor once we have major stability issues addressed, else you risk having great tools and nobody left to use them. I know some of you would prioritize things differently.

The Ladder Has a Champion

With the AoE3Heaven Ladder having just finished it's fourth week there is already quite a bit of activity and we're just getting started.

We Have a Champion
Qazitory is the first ladder champion after having gone undefeated in a round robin tournament between the top five players on the ladder. Congratulate our new champion and check out the downloads section for some great games from the tournament. How long can you keep that crown Qaz?

Top Ten
1 Qazitory
2 Mokon
3 Flammifer
4 THoR_Borlach
5 Yobbo
6 Stophon4
7 Sullage
8 FaDeDFuNk
9 Arise
10 FeaR_VipeR

Ladder Statistics
Days Running: 27
Registered Participants: 161
Games Played: 215
Ladder Thread Views: 6235
Rankings Thread Views: 3042

Ladder Warriors
About Ladder Warriors: These players take on all Challenges. They are not afraid to put their points and their egos on the line. Graceful in victory and defeat, they learn from both their wins and their losses. They look at every challenge, no matter how tough their opponent, as an opportunity to improve their game. They just love to get it on. No excuses are given when they lose; they just say.....I'll get you next time. Their attitude is their opponent may have won the battle, but they will win the war if not time.
The Ladder Warriors for Dec 23 to Dec 29 are Myll_Erik, HelzBelz and AlphaJae.

To read the rules, join and post game results see the ladder thread.
To view the current standings see the rankings thread.

Villager Math

NIC1138 proposed that by using a certain math calculation, one is able to find the optimal amount of villagers to enhance some strategies. This serves as a useful guideline in which a gamer can perhaps gain that small edge over an opponent.

It´s just a sum of the harmonic series [1 + 1/2 + 1/3 + ... + 1/(n-1) ] (this is approximated by the logarithm function) plus a term related to the last saving of food, proportional to the amount of food we want. This last term decreases with the amount of villagers.

Check out the thread here.

The Russian Winter -- Multiple Russian Strats

Residential expert TheGoodEvil has posted up a bunch of Strategy articles for the diverse Russian civilization in a single thread. It varies from huge rushes to fast fortresses, all coming into full effect during team games. Quote...

"Russia is a very diverse civ with huge amounts of potential but a few things make Russia less favorable compared to other civs. 1st thing, block training, vils train very fast and cheaper but only in blocks of 3, this could have a very profound effect on your age times as well as all future production. If you want to get to colonial age fast you'll pull a 14 vil build with a food crate for faster aging. If you want a FF you may choose 17 vils in discovery age to get enough coin/food prepared for your faster age time to Fortress age." ...

A very good read indeed, especially for those of you who enjoy playing as the Russians. Check out the thread for more information!

Pedro Lacks Political Experience

It's that time of the year again. What time do you ask? Time to vote! For what you ask? Why, the Age of Empires III Heaven Community Awards!

This is the time you take to vote and award those who excel in our community. The most helpful forummer, the best newbie, the funniest forummer, etc. For more information, visit this forum thread.

subliminal message: vote me.

Kill Shot Math

F1RE_FLY took the time to calculate how many shots it takes for the main three units (Skirmisher, Hussar and Musketeer) to kill any other unit, and posted the results in our Strategy Discussions forum. His results? Quote...

"It takes a skirmisher this many shots to kill these units (for dutch players):
Strelet:9 " ...

Check out the rest of his results in our Strategy forum!

Gamespy Game of the Year Awards

Gamespy has picked out their favorite games of the year for the good ol' 2005. Not surprisingly, Age of Empires III won some awards. Gamespy handed the game a PC Strategy Game of the Year award, as well as the 5th spot as the PC Game of the Year! Congrats Ensemble! :).
Update: I seemed to have missed as reader FD2 pointed out, that Age of Empires III also won Best PC Graphics.

There were also Reader's Choice award. Age of Empires III came close, but Civilization IV took the first place.

Poll Round-Up!

Last week we asked how people are feeling into ESO2, a few months months it was released. A majority of you are enjoying playing, but believe it needs fixing, and quick. People that love it regardless trudge behind in a far second. Here are the statistics:

I love it! (291)
Needs fixing/It's so-so (690)
Go back to ESO1/Zone please! (178)
I completely detest it. (134)

This week we're asking you "What's the most important quality in a strategy game?" Vote in our poll!

Happy New Year!

We're close to our one-year anniversary here at Age of Empires III Heaven, and we've progressed through the official announcement of the game to the official release surprisingly quickly. With 2005 ending and 2006 beginning (yay!), one might wonder: what's in store for AoE3H's future?

Shaking my magic 8 ball, I keep getting "No".... To cut to the chase: expect a very likely new design for the site, a full content revamp (including new stuff, we promise), and plenty of contests / tournies. This is just from AoE3H alone, so I can only imagine how much buzz there will be in the entire community.

Hope you have a happy new year, folks!

Making Units Fly

ToMyBoY has found a way to make units fly by modifying the proto.xml file. This is a wonderful way to make awesome looking screenshots as well as cool effects in single player scenarios.

Since the early days of AOM, designers seemed to be fascinated with perching units up on anything that would support them. Walls, buildings and towers were favorites. Yet the process used up to now, that is creating a small hill using the elevation tool and hiding the hill with a model has severe limitations, and during levels, often when the building that's hiding the hill was destroyed, you were left with an unsightly hill that gave away the illusion. Also in AOE3, since there's no impassable terrains, it is hard to get units to stay put atop their little hill perches.

Read the thread here.